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Jun 13, 2023

Rodwell on Extortion Case, “Corruption is a Culture”

On Monday, a transport officer was charged after a sting operation revealed that she had allegedly extorted money from a motorist who was driving an uninsured vehicle. Diaris Tepaz alerted the police when the transport officer, identified as Andrea Peters, informed her of the violation at a checkpoint near Independence Village. Tepaz said after the transport officers determined that she was in violation of vehicular insurance, one of the officers asked for five hundred dollars and in exchange she would be allowed to proceed without a charge. Tepaz went along with the charade but alerted the police before handing over the bills that were marked and Peters was charged with extortion. Today, the Minister of Transport said that there is a culture of corruption among public officers in several government departments.


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport

“I also was a bit dismayed, but I will, we are innocent and proven guilty. So since it is before the court I will make no more comment on that.”


Paul Lopez

“What’s your thoughts on the allegation and reports of this being a culture within the transport department?”


Rodwell Ferguson

“Not only within the transport department in many government sectors, and it’s something not need to be addressed. One of the reasons I believe could be the amount of pay they’re getting as employees of the Government of Belize, but it’s over our public service. I think government in the future would have to look at the salary structure and determine how that can be improved.”


Paul Lopez

“But in the short term, how can we address it?”


Rodwell Ferguson

“Well at the ministry level, we were discussing it with our traffic wardens several times and we told them that it is the best that you go out there and do a job and do it properly, so if you get caught eventually — or we don’t want you to get cut, we don’t want you to get involved and make sure your job might become, sometime when they lose the job, they lose everything.”


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